The government has stated that journeys to recycling centres must only be undertaken if waste cannot be stored at home safely and without causing risk of injury, health or harm. No other reason for the journey would be considered as legitimate. Residents need to consider this before making any visit.
Weston-super-Mare recycling centre will re-open first on Monday 18 May with the sites at Backwell and Portishead following in the coming weeks – Portishead on Wednesday 27 May and Backwell on Friday 29 May.
Cllr Bridget Petty, executive member for the environment said: “We’re working hard behind the scenes to prepare our recycling centres for re-opening but they won’t all re-open at the same time as each one has its own set of challenges to enable social distancing and keep everyone safe. The staff from these sites have been working on the kerbside rounds the previous weeks and delivering a really important priority service.
“Weston will re-open first because arrangements can be introduced there more easily due to the site’s larger size and for more cars to queue safely. Backwell and Portishead will take us a little longer. The roads leading to them will struggle to safely manage the potential large queues which may form, without additional measures. We have to consider the needs of nearby residents in Backwell and our police and fire colleagues in Portishead. The sites themselves have more restricted access. But we’re working on it so please be patient.
“If you use these sites normally please don’t make an unnecessary journey to Weston, it won’t be long until your local site is open.”
The safety of the staff working at the centres and of the residents using them will be paramount and social distancing measures are being put in place. This means there will be fewer vehicles allowed on site at any one time and the potential for much longer waiting times than normal.
The council is extending the opening hours at Weston for the first five days between 6.30am and 7.30pm.
There will also be a fair usage approach with each household encouraged to visit no more than once per month. This will give everyone the chance to visit.
To help keep queues down the council is asking residents with vehicle number plates with an odd number to visit on Mondays, Thursdays or Saturdays, even number plates to visit on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with any plate accepted on Tuesdays.
It will be really important that people follow all the guidance on the council's recycling centre webpages before travelling and they must take time to familiarise themselves with the on site signage which will ensure health protection measures are maintained.
All these arrangements are dependent on the success of maintaining social distancing and safe practices and the progress with the country’s journey through the lockdown-easement measures. Should the government revise the measures and reintroduce more stringent lockdown controls the council may not be able to keep recycling centres open.